Obituary: Walt Matthews
The Vail Valley lost one of its adopted sons on Tuesday. Walt Matthews was adopted as a son, adopted Vail as his home, and most importantly was adopted into God’s family late in life. Walt had a heart as big and wide as his toothy, white smile. But ultimately his heart gave up and that leaves so many of us with a hole in our collective hearts. No matter what kinds of negative things were going on in his life, Walt was always more concerned with what he could do to make your day better as opposed to dwelling on the garbage in his world.
Whether you knew him on the golf course, the courtroom, the tennis courts, the ski hill; from walking your dog, renting your skis, fixing your garage door, or extending a friendly handshake at church, if you knew Walt, you knew warmth, love, and that he was there for you no matter what.
Walt had been diagnosed with a heart problem and the people around him were certainly concerned about his long-term health. Walt, however, was perfectly at peace with the situation. He knew who held the future and was entirely comfortable with the prospect of death. That’s not to say he wanted to die. Quite the contrary. Walt loved living and tried to spread that love to everyone he came in contact with. But he, perhaps more than most, was acutely aware that one day all of our hearts will ultimately take their last beat. Walt’s stopped beating on Tuesday, but he was entirely prepared for that moment and wanted everyone around him to know that – and more importantly, he wanted us all to have the same peace about death that he did.
Losing a loved one or friend is never easy, and this is no exception. However, we all take solace in the fact that the last face Walt saw was that of a dear friend trying to save his life and that the next face he saw was his Lord and savior who said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into my rest.” So please remember Walt and have a good cry. And then dry your eyes and hit your next drive long and straight, ski the Mile in knee deep pow, pet your favorite four-legged friend, make that guest or client smile with your great service at work, wipe the dust off your Bible and read it, and show somebody in your life that you love them with a big old smile and huge bear hug. Just like Walt did.
There will be memorial service and celebration of Walt’s life Thursday, January 17 at 4 p.m. at The Vail Church at 39209 US Highway 6, Avon.